Returning Label volunteer Leah Langley reflects on her life before the pandemic, back when ‘coronavirus’ was merely a scientific utterance unknown to the masses…

Dear my pre-pandemic self,

You’re feeling a little lost right now. You’ve had a tough few months and haven’t really been appreciating everything that you have, or enjoying what it is that life has to offer. You’ve lost your spark.

Can you remember the last time that you picked up a pen and just wrote? It’s been far too long. You keep using the excuse that you’re still writing articles as a way out of picking up your journal and documenting whatever your heart desires – and that just isn’t right. You used to find so much joy in picking that pen up and escaping to new worlds, or writing about pointless trips that you had taken. You’re scared of where the words may take you or that you might get it wrong, but I have news for you; there is no wrong way to write. Words are one of your best friends and they will always be truthful.

Let’s talk about how you’ve been acting with your friends. I know that you’re hurting, and I know you think that you are protecting them, but they don’t want to be protected; they want to help you. You always say that your friends are your family, so let them in! You have been turning down all of their offers to go for a walk or a coffee and, although they are completely understanding, it’s hurting you more than you realise. You are surrounded by so many people that care, and so, whilst you have the chance, take in all those hugs and let them hold your hand through the tough times (trust me, you’ll miss it more than you realise.)

Keep going with those ridiculously long walks that you are going on, and enjoy getting lost in nature. You feel your most at home when you’re listening to the song of the Earth and you are at your calmest when you’re sitting beneath the trees. Revel in every inch of the beauty that is surrounding you. You call the place you’re in home because it’s the most content you’ve ever felt, but it hasn’t quite hit you just how much you love this place. Remember every sight, smell and sound that you encounter because it hits different to everything else that you experience.

You’re about to be thrown into an unprecedented situation and you won’t quite know what to do with yourself, but I can promise you that you are going to get through it. You are going to pick that journal up again, but it is going to present itself in a new way so don’t shy away from it – it’ll be one of the best decisions that you ever make. My biggest piece of advice for you is to have less fear. You’ll be surrounded by scary headlines and worried people, but don’t let that distract you from the opportunities that arise. You have the chance to do things, and connect with people, that you never would have imagined. Remember that you are strong, you are loved, and you’ve got this.


Your post- pandemic self.

Header designed by Frankie Stevens.


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